3 Keys to a Reader Friendly Blog

by Alli

Is my blog a reader friendly blog?  I sure hope so and that is my number one goal as a blogger!  Today I’m sharing what I deeply believe to be the top 3 keys to a blog being reader friendly.

Sometimes I think that bloggers (including myself) forget that non-blogger readers don’t really know some of our lingo and that many new followers may never have read a blog before.  It’s true!  Before I started blogging, I had read only one blog and didn’t know it was a blog.  I just thought it was a great recipe site.  And I have to admit that Google became my BFF as I took a flying leap into the world of blogging.

It’s like anything else, even church.  We church goers have our own lingo and sometimes we forget that first time visitors don’t know what we are talking about and non church goers have no clue to what we are saying at all.  So, sometimes we need to stop and look at things from their point of view.

I try to participate in lots of giveaways because I love to see people win things.  When I encouraged a couple of friends to enter a particular giveaway, their reply was, “I tried but couldn’t figure it out.”  I often get the following statement from people that have entered a giveaway, “I hope I did it right.  I’m just not sure.”

When I wrote my One Word 2014 post, I included the webpage that started it all and I mentioned to a friend that I had included the original webpage by highlighting it and that she could click on the link to go to that website.  She said, “Oh, I didn’t know I could click on the highlighted word and it would take me to another page.” Sometimes, we just assume that everyone knows and they don’t.  And for those of you that don’t know, the link you click on is usually a different color.  Mine is orange.  And I apologize and  bless your heart because I didn’t tell you.

So, today I’m trying to think like someone who has never visited a blog before.

I realize that content is the most important of all tips, but I assume if a person is blogging, they have something interesting to say.  🙂  And that’s all I’m saying about that!

Of course, I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year (1 year, 4 months to be exact, but who’s counting?  Me!) and I certainly don’t claim to know it all or know much at all, but I have learned a few things.  Here’s my top three:

readerfriendlyblog

1.  If a blog is too messy, most readers just ride on by and keep on truckin’.

 I once had a seasoned blogger comment that she “just loved my little ole blog.”  I took that as a compliment because I keep it simple for a reason.  I’ve visited blogs before and had to search for the post I was looking for.  Honestly, there have been some blogs that had so much frou frou, I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I left.

If I, as a blogger, can’t find the post I’m looking for, how do you think new readers feel?  I’m beyond flattered when other bloggers love my blog, but I want non-bloggers to love it, too!

2.  Don’t make your readers jump through hoops to comment! 

If I must enter a non-spam code, a password, check here and click there every time I want to leave a comment, pretty soon I just say no.  How do you think a first time reader will feel?

3.  Want comments?  Always end your post with a call to action.  

We bloggers love to get comments!  I can remember my first few posts that had zero, none, nada comments.   I was a little disappointed.  I wanted to know someone was reading.  (I must add that my daughters and my sister eventually did comment, but I have a feeling they felt sorry for me.)

What’s a call to action?  It’s asking a question or an invitation to comment.  It’s asking for your reader’s point of view!  And I have to confess that sometimes I still forget to invite my readers to comment.

I said from the get go that I would try my best to respond to every comment and if I haven’t, it’s because I missed it somehow.

Did you know that there is a search bar on the upper right hand corner of my blog so that you can search for a particular post or enter one word of a recipe and it should pop up?

Did you know that you can enter your email address right below the Welcome  section in the upper right hand corner of this page and you will receive every one of my new posts delivered straight to your email?  But, did you know that you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription and you must confirm it before you will receive my posts via email?

You can also follow along on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media by just clicking the social media icons at the very top right hand side.

Did you know that all the pictures I post can be pinned on Pinterest?  When you hover over a picture, a small pin it button will appear in the upper left hand corner of the picture.  Just click on it.

Did you know that you can print my recipes or print the entire post?  There’s a print friendly button at the bottom of each post and a print button on just the recipe portion of the post.

One more thing

When I find a new blog I’m interested in, I immediately look for the author’s picture on the home page. I like to be able to put a face to the blog. I’m completely surprised by the number of blogs I come across with no picture or anything at all about the owner of the blog.

So, dear readers, it’s call to action time!  Is there anything that you are confused about when it comes to reading a post?  Believe me, there are no stupid questions.

Bloggers, what are your top keys to a reader friendly blog?  I’m always looking for new tips!

Is there anything else you want to know?  About my blog?  About me? Just ask away!

39 comments

heidi March 3, 2014 - 5:47 am

These are great tips, make sure there is contact information. Sometimes people want to contact the person who has written the post. But some blogs have no way to contact others.

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 6:26 am

That is a great tip! I do have a contact page, but I was on a blog that I follow a few days ago and I needed to contact the blogger for a custom made sign. There was no contact info, so she lost a sale. I hate it because I love her blog and her work!

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Cindy Eikenberg March 3, 2014 - 7:53 am

Hi Alli! These are great tips, especially the call to action, which I, too, sometimes forget. It’s a great reminder to remember to put ourselves in the shoes of a first time reader or visitor who may be unfamiliar with blogs. I have to make sure I’m doing all of these things! Thanks so much for sharing and hope you have a happy Monday and a great week!

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 10:14 am

Hi, Cindy! I actually polled a few ladies at my church that follow my blog. Some of them are not computer savvy at all. And that’s when I realized that there has to be other people out there that are confused as well. Happy Monday!!

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Shirley Wood March 3, 2014 - 8:04 am

Great tips Alli and you are more than right on all accounts. I have only been blogging for about 6 months now. I feel like I have learned so very much in that short time.
Content is truly king. Reader friendly is so important. I have been to blogs where there was so much advertising inside of the post, I could not find the post so just like you, I left. When I enjoy a blog, I follow on Bloglovin which is my poison of choice. I don’t like to follow via email b/c my Email is so over crowded as it is. I get one feed from Bloglovin in my email.
I purposefully don’t have a picture of myself on my Home page, it is on my About Me page. I’m on my blog more than my readers and I don’t want to see my face, plus there is only so much space for the affiliate links which I keep hoping will someday pay off 🙂
I Pinned this to my Blogging Board. My dear, you are in my top bloggers that I follow!

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 10:12 am

It took me a while before I even allowed advertising on my blog. I couldn’t decide if I wanted it or not. And I’m with you, I can’t stand to be reading a blog and right smack dab in the middle of my reading, an ad hits me in the face!

Yeah, I don’t usually follow by email, either, for the same reasons you gave.

The reason I do have a picture on my landing page is so that people can know immediately who I am and they don’t have to search to find out. But I totally understand your reasoning behind only having your picture on your “About Me” page. Whatever works is my motto! 🙂 And you are in my top “follow” blogs, too! 🙂

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Adrianne March 3, 2014 - 9:17 am

You are so right that we can’t assume everyone knows the ins and outs of commenting, the lingo, etc. The comments are many times from bloggers (because other bloggers know how mice it is to get comments, so we are more likely to leave them – but ALSO we know exactly how to leave them.)

One thing I wish I could change about wordpress is the comment fields. There is a field for your website… but I think a lot of people who don’t have websites don’t realize that you can leave that blank if you don’t have one. It’s not user-friendly to the average reader, but I don’t think we are able to change that part. :/

I think there is also a disconnect when it comes to finding things that the average reader doesn’t like or can’t figure out because… how can they tell you they can’t comment? How much time will they spend not navigating your site? They won’t tell you, they will just leave. So it’s really tough to design it well – since once you have a website, you can’t relate to NOT knowing anymore. 😉

These are great tips. Gives me lots to think about to see if I can do better.

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 10:07 am

Thanks, Adrianne! I wholeheartedly agree about the commenting field. You are right, it’s not very user friendly for non-bloggers.

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Amanda Smith March 3, 2014 - 9:38 am

Great points. I know I need to work on my calls to action a bit. And I agree whole heatedly about the “making commenting easy” I am a blogger and I will not comment (unless I have to) on a blog that makes it difficult for me. And I also do not like when they use discus or any other service that automatically makes my comment appear on Facebook.

I have had people not know how to enter giveaways, but I didn’t know some don’t know to click on links.

For only 1 year and 4 months blogging and not having been a blog reader before you are doing amazing! I thought your blog had to be at least 4 years old, just because it is nice. It’s pretty and is always full of great ideas.

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 10:05 am

Thanks, Amanda! It took me a while to remember to give a call to action. So glad that I’m not the only one that hates to comment when I have to copy the code that sometimes is hard to read, even with my reading glasses. It’s true about the clicking on the links. Some people that follow my blog are not really computer people and they just don’t know. 🙂

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Karen March 3, 2014 - 12:24 pm

Great info 🙂 I am new to blogging as well and sometimes find things hard to figure out. I have to remind myself to add a question with posts! How does one go about to add the “share icons” to ones page and also the printer friendly icon at the end of a post. (that one is new to me) even though I have seen it a few times.

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Hi, Karen! I use plugins. There is one for social icons and one for print friendly. And if I can’t figure out how to do something, I Google it and usually there is a clip somewhere that will show you how. I’m a visual learner when it comes to blogging! Thanks for stopping by!

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Kristen from The Road to Domestication March 3, 2014 - 1:59 pm

These are great, Alli, thank you! (I think I’m doing all of them, too, whew!) What I do that I sets me apart from a lot of blogs (and you do this, too!) is, I answer each and every comment myself. If someone takes the time to read and comment on my blog, I want to make sure I take the time to respond to them – it’s just being polite!

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 2:12 pm

I agree, Kristen! If someone takes the time out of their busy day to comment, I make sure I respond. Plus, I just love the interaction! I love your blog and congrats on reaching over 1,000 Facebook fans!

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Anna @ Northern Homestead March 3, 2014 - 3:29 pm

A great reminder to remember to put ourselves in the shoes of a first time reader. Reading this post made me wanting for you to review my blog (honestly and privately ;)). You are a great blogger, I love reading your blog.

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Thanks, Anna! Ive learned by trial and error. And I certainly don’t know it all, but I would be happy to take a private look at your blog.

And I always think of you as the queen of homesteading. 🙂

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Caitlin March 3, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Great tips!! I can relate to disliking “messy” blogs and I’ve also experienced clicking here to get there, then clicking 3 more times just to find a recipe!! I have left many a blog because of this blog-ception (a blog within blog, within a blog). 😀 Ain’t nobody got time for that!!

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Alli March 3, 2014 - 5:06 pm

You are too funny, just like your mom! 🙂 And I totally agree – blog-ception – love it!!!

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Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint March 3, 2014 - 6:10 pm

Great post, Alli! Even as a blogger I get bothered by word verification. It really is too much when you would like to leave a comment.

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Alli March 4, 2014 - 4:52 am

Hi, Denyse! Hope you are well. Glad I’m not the only one bothered by word verification.

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Renew Your Space March 3, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Boy do I agree with #2 – The one thing I noticed about the comment-a-thon was how difficult people made it to comment! Sometimes I couldn’t even figure out where the comments were – lol. And Capchas are so annoying… just my two cents 😉 Your blog is very reader friendly! ~Renee

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Alli March 4, 2014 - 4:51 am

Thanks, Renee! Capchas are annoying! And I love reading your blog, too. When I wrote the post, I was thinking about all the people that are not internet savvy, but follow our blogs because they actually love to read them and how I wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable on my site.

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Cari March 4, 2014 - 9:39 am

Great tips! It’s so easy to forget how non-bloggers must feel when they land on our blogs because we’ve been doing this for so long.

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Alli March 4, 2014 - 10:30 am

I know. When I talked to several (older) ladies and realized that they were trying to follow my blog and didn’t know how, my heart went right out to them! 🙂

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Kathy March 4, 2014 - 11:03 am

Great tips Alli! I get turned off with blogs that have way to much going on and I get overwhelmed. Simple design, easy navigation is what its all about. 😉 How do you make your page printer friendly? Do you use a plugin?

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Alli March 4, 2014 - 11:11 am

I’m all about simple! Yes I do use a plug in. I think it’s actually called print friendly. My aunt prints my posts so that she can give them to my computer free parents. 🙂

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Jess March 4, 2014 - 2:12 pm

I really love these tips! 🙂

Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

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Alli March 4, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Thanks for hosting!

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Sarah March 5, 2014 - 2:03 pm

Great tips Allie. I love simple clean blogs that are easy to navigate. It’s so important to think like a non-blogger reader. If I can’t find something on a blog, and I read these things daily, I don’t think a reader will stick around to search for it. This has motivated me to go back and look at my page with fresh eyes. Thanks!

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Alli March 6, 2014 - 4:16 am

That’s exactly what I tried to do – put myself in the place of someone who had never read a blog. And not too long ago, I was that person and I can remember trying to figure things out and landing on blogs with flashing lights and boxes popping open and I had to keep closing in order to actually read the post.

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Jeannie March 6, 2014 - 4:18 pm

I like the clean appearance of your blog and no pop up windows. I get agitated on blogs that pop up ads where I’m trying to read. I’d like to know what you think would make my blog more readable. @ For what it’s worth-jeannie

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Alli March 6, 2014 - 6:04 pm

Jeannie, your blog is very reader friendly! You should probably be giving me advice! I hate those pop up windows and ads in the middle of a blog. I just don’t think they are appealing at all. But, hey, that’s just my 2 cents worth. 🙂

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Katherines Corner March 10, 2014 - 10:28 am

great tips. Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop ♥

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Grace March 17, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Hi, Alli! Thank you so, so much for the blogging tips. I am so glad I stumbled upon this! I’ll take it to heart. But I know that my website makes it oh-so-easy to contact me. I have the icons, email addy, & contact form readily available! So, that’s one down. . . how many to go?

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Alli March 18, 2014 - 7:45 am

Thanks for stopping by, Grace! I’m going to stop by and visit. I love the name of your blog!

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Julie@Sweet and Spicy Monkey July 7, 2014 - 8:57 am

Followed this site from your most recent post of blogging tips. This is yet another great post Alli with more tips I can use as I stumble through this blogging journey!! Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned!

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Alli July 7, 2014 - 2:44 pm

You’re welcome, Julie! So glad you followed the links!

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Elizabeth August 13, 2014 - 2:46 pm

I agree about putting a face to the blog. A lot of times I want to place that face with a name, when I see comments on my own blog. I must admit, having a personal touch is always a draw for me (which is funny because in some ways I haven’t added that to my own…note to self). The call to action is something I am definitely working on. I need to continue to work on that as I haven’t made it an art as of yet! Thanks for another great post!

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Alli August 14, 2014 - 4:33 am

Thanks, Elizabeth! Seems there’s always something new to learn in the world of blogging, right? Just when I think I’ve got my blog just the way I want it I’ll see something that needs changing or improving.

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